LeBron James overtakes Karl Malone in the scoring list, eye Kareem

LeBron James

LeBron James
Photo: beautiful pictures

LeBron James took one step closer to his ultimate goal of becoming the NBA’s all-time top scorer on Saturday night when he overtook Karl Malone for second on the list. James scored his career score of 36,929 in a 127-119 loss to the Wizards in Washington. He scored into the basket in a game in the second half, then received a standing ovation from the fans present on the field.

James finished the game with 38 points, bringing his career total to 36,947, just 1,440 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scoring for the first time. James probably won’t admit this, but it looks like his goal now is to capture Kareem and become the league’s all-time goalscorer. I wouldn’t fault James, like some, if he admitted to chasing Abdul-Jabbar’s record all the time.

This is a remarkable moment for James, his family, friends and all of his teammates, present and past. They all helped him get to this point in different ways, but the moment could have been even better had this game been in Cleveland against the Cavs. Hopefully the Lakers will play the Cavs late enough next season for James to overtake Kareem in the city where his NBA journey began. That might sound too much like a scripted Hollywood ending, but it would make the moment so much better.

It would also be nice to be in Los Angeles on Saturday night in front of his current hometown crowd. But honestly, most Lakers fans still don’t consider LeBron a “true” Laker. He’s not homegrown, so there will always be some animosity involved in that relationship. And I really believe a lot of that stems from Lakers fans not liking Kobe Bryant’s not getting more involved in the goofy conversation. That debate has been for James and Michael Jordan for nearly a decade now. So the Lakers, and especially the die-hard Kobe fans, sense that, and I understand.

But is passing Abdul-Jabbar the final step to surpassing Jordan for the title of goat? If you ask LeBron, he’s been a goat since he led the Cavs back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals. His words, not mine. Whether you’re in the camp of LeBron or Jordan, being considered the second greatest player in professional basketball history is nothing to be ashamed of. Of course, everyone wants to be number 1, but there can only be one.

It will be a challenge, but James can still surpass Jordan in the minds of the public. All he has to do is win one more championship, or two, or three. Well, the way things are, it’s going to be extremely difficult for LeBron sniff other title with these Lakers. We are talking about rebuilding an entire team almost completely overhauled last season. Knowing James, there’s likely to be a lot of change to this roster this season, but I don’t know if at this point will be enough to push them back into the title race.

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